Prep Wrestling

Top of the Arch: Palmyra sophomore wins state wrestling title

By Herald-Whig
Posted: Feb. 16, 2019 10:10 pm Updated: Feb. 16, 2019 10:56 pm

COLUMBIA, Mo. -- The mission hadn't changed since Ross Arch was 7 years old.

"My whole life goal was to win a state championship," the Palmyra sophomore wrestler said.

That's no longer the case.

His goal now is to win three.

Arch became the first Palmyra wrestler to win a state championship, avenging a loss to Marceline's Clayton Stallo in last year's title match by scoring a 3-1 victory Saturday night at Mizzou Arena to claim the Class 1 title at 145 pounds.

"It feels fantastic," Arch said. "Outstanding."

After holding Stallo down for the final six seconds, Arch broke into his signature celebratory pose with fists clenched and muscles rippling before celebrating with the Palmyra coaches.

"It's a first, and hopefully the first of many," Palmyra coach Josh Buatte said. "Hopefully it's just the beginning. He's set the tone for the rest of his career."

Arch (35-1) has no plans of stopping, not with two years of high school remaining and the opportunity to become a three-time champion.

"What I'm doing is what I love the most," Arch said. "I wanted it so much. I think that was the difference. I think I wanted it more than him."

Arch wrestled that way. In the first period, he twice had an opportunity to take down Stallo, getting a deep grip on his right leg both times. Stallo (31-3) scrambled to the mat's edge or escaped before Arch could score, but it set an aggressive tone.

"Having those opportunities will give you confidence," Buatte said.

Arch began the second period on the bottom and escaped within the first seven seconds for a 1-0 edge, which he took to the third period. Stallo began on the bottom and scored an immediate escape to tie the match at 1, but he couldn't put Arch in a dangerous position to score again.

"Ross had to pick his moments to go after it," Buatte said. "He stayed in good position."

With roughly 30 seconds remaining in the third period, Arch scored a takedown for the 3-1 lead. He rode Stallo until they squirmed out of bounds with six seconds left. Arch rode him out for the victory.

"It was exhilarating," Buatte said.

And the culmination of everything Arch has poured into the sport.

"It's what I've dreamed about," he said.

Arch might not be the only Palmyra wrestler with a shot at a title next year.

Freshman Brayden Stevens joined Arch as the only wrestlers in the short history of the Palmyra program to win state medals as he finished fifth at 113 pounds. Stevens (37-16) lost to Seneca's Kendon Pollard in the consolation semifinals, getting pinned in 53 seconds, but rebounded to beat Plattsburg's Joseph Hofmeister 7-0 in the fifth-place match.

"Hopefully it pushes him to work harder in the offseason to get back here and chase a state championship," Buatte said.

Three Hannibal wrestlers brought home medals from the Class 3 state tournament.

At 132, Pirates sophomore Tyler Leonard (42-6) won a 7-6 decision over Neosho's Kolton Sanders in the consolation semifinals before losing a 9-4 decision to Smithville's Devan Lewis in the third-place match.

At 152, Hannibal junior Garrett Ruby (29-9) defeated Smithville's Blake Ackerman 6-3 in the consolation semifinals. Lebanon's Trevor Christian scored a 10-0 major decision over Ruby in the third-place match.

At 160, Pirates freshman Trevor Wilson (39-9) lost 6-3 in the consolation semifinals to Warrenton's Jarrett Villinger before suffering a 3-2 loss to Rolla's Hayden Fane in the fifth-place match.